You may recall that back during the Monkey Bar Gym experiment, Reader Andrew challenged me to try CrossFit. I believe his exact words were “Your average CrossFit-er could run circles around your average Monkey Bar Gym-er.”
I love a challenge:)
What Is Crossfit?
Basically CrossFit (every time I type that it just looks weirder) is a combination of heavy weight lifting and short, intense cardio with a few long days of cardio thrown in. It’s similar in structure and length to the Monkey Bar Gym except it focuses more on traditional weight exercises (chest press, deadlift, clean, etc.) where as the MBG focuses more on functional weight training. There is a lot of overlap in the types of exercises.
According to the Crossfit site
, their program is the premier training regimin for police academies, the armed forces and elite professional athletes. You can’t get any more fit than that, right? Andrew summed it up for me by saying “The critical difference is that CrossFit is for making elite athletes whereas the MBG is not.”
How To Crossfit
Crossfit posts a WOD
(workout of the day). You take it to the gym and do it. Simple, right? In theory. The workouts are grueling but more on that in a minute. The official Crossfit warm up is pretty much a workout in itself:
3 rounds of 10-15 reps of
Samson Stretch (do the Samson Stretch once each round for 15-30 seconds)
Overhead Squat with broomstick
Another thing to note before starting is that Crossfit assumes you already know the basic lifts. They are going to ask you to lift really heavy so you want to make sure that you know what you are doing first so you don’t get injured. It would be worth it to have a personal trainer (they recommend a Crossfit-affiliate trainer) to help you train all the lifts. This is mandatory if you are new(ish) to weight lifting.
The website also has some instructional videos, set to the cheesiest 80’s butt-rock I’ve heard since middle school, and a great FAQ page. Definitely check both out before starting the WOD.
So starting last Monday (Feb. 25), Gym Buddy Allison and I embarked on the great CrossFit experiment. The first day the WOD was short – just 5 reps of 3 different shoulder exercises. I must admit, we were dubious. We warmed up by doing the MBG workout and then went to Crossfit. We did as heavy a weight as we could manage. (Crossfit often recommends a certain weight – and they make no concessions for girls. So it’s best to just start with what you know you can handle and work up from there.) It was hard. Really hard. But short – so when we finished, about 15 minutes later, we just kinda looked at each other and shrugged. “That was… fun?”
And then we both bit the dust that afternoon. I’m not kidding. It didn’t feel like much of a workout doing it but that afternoon I felt like I’d run 15 miles. I literally laid down on my (wood) kitchen floor and fell asleep while my kids ran circles around me and ate an entire box of fruit snacks. The next day I discovered that Allison had had the same crash and ended up going to be at 9 o’clock that night. I’m not sure why that happened (explanation, Andrew??) but, boy howdy it did something. We took Crossfit seriously after that.
Over the past week, aside from the days I took off for being sick, we have consistently got our butts kicked by the WOD. So I’m looking forward to the next three weeks:) I’ll let you know how it goes!
PS> I’m feeling mostly recovered from my run-in with the flu. I took it easy at the gym today. Thank you for all of your advice and well wishes!!